Caldo Gallego (Spanish White Bean Soup) Recipe

Caldo Gallego!

Oh Boy!!! I love trying new recipes and I really love it when they end up being terrific. This is hands down one of the best things I have ever eaten. Caldo Gallego is a Spanish soup that will permanently be on my favorite recipes list. This one will knock your socks off.

The day before soak 1 1/2 pounds of dried Great Northern beans.

I used jowl bacon to start this recipe. If you can't get your hands on a jowl, just use a thick smokey bacon instead. Dice it into small cubes and cook it until it is crispy in a heavy pot. Remove it and set it aside. Leave the grease in the pot.

It will take a bit of time to render the bacon. Cook it over medium heat and be patient.

While the bacon is cooking, dice 4 carrots, 2 parsnips (optional), 2 large onions and 4 stalks of celery.

Add the vegetables to the grease in the pot and saute' until they begin to soften.

Dice 6 cloves of garlic.

Add the garlic to the pot with 4 bay leaves and several sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Add 3 tablespoons of dried thyme and a tablespoon of cracked black pepper.

Add 16 cups of chicken stock. This recipe can be cut in half for normal people that don't feel that they need to cook for 100 people every day. I blame this on being raised by a parent heavily effected by the Great Depression.

Add a package of chicken demi glace'. If you can't find this in your neck of the woods, use 5 large chicken bouillon cubes.

Drain and add the soaked beans.

And here is the secret ingredient that totally makes this soup spectacular. Most recipes for caldo gallego call for andouille sausage. And you can definitely use it here. But I had none on hand. I love when I have to substitute ingredients and end up with a better result because of it. I had a sausage in my freezer that I had never used before yesterday, It is called Debreziner and comes from the Stiglmeier Sausage company in Wheeling, Ill.. Here is one place you can order it: These sausages are to die for. Years ago I used to buy these on the streets of Frankfurt but I did not know what they were called. They are lean and have an incredible smokey flavor which is extremely important to this recipe. You could substitute tasso ham or any good but very smokey flavored sausage.

I also added 2 smoked ham hocks.

In Spain, cubed potatoes are usually added to this soup. I thought that small pasta shells would be good and I was right.

You can see the ham hock at the top. Push them down into the soup and simmer. Discard them at the end of the recipe. You can cut the meat off and cube it and add it back to the soup if you wish.

It will take a couple hours for the beans to soften. Keep it at a constant simmer.

Slice the sausage and return it to the pot. This was another surprise to me. Usually when you simmer meats for this long, they lose a lot of their flavor. The Debreziner does not lose it's flavor at all.

Cut the fat veins out of a bunch of cleaned kale. Dice the kale and add it to the soup.

Boil the pasta for half of the time it calls for. Drain it and add it to the pot.

This might not look like much but I promise you, it is outstanding. It is so unlike any other soup I have ever eaten. It has a smokey, hearty, rich flavor. I love the way the beans find their way into the little shell pastas.

Make some soon. You won't be sorry. And do yourself a favor and order some of the sausage. I served this with the sourdough bread for dipping. Oh...I almost forgot. Just before serving sprinkle the crisped bacon back to the soup. It gives a wonderful crisp bite to each spoonful.


Sara said…
YUM! Looks like the perfect meal for today. :)
I´ve eaten something very similar, but I think Yours is much tastier with that smokey meat in it!

This made me hungry so I better get something to eat :-)

Have a great day now!
My goodness gracious sakes alive, this soup has all the nutrients you need, and looks delish!

Thanks for sharing!

xoxo to "Teddy Snow Baby"!

....that is one of john's favorite soups....we just never had it with those sausages before....thanks for the link...i need to order some....if it ever gets cold again. almost 80 degrees today...what is going on?
Pricilla said…
Soups are perfect in the winter!
This looks fabulous. The Debreziner Sausage is out of stock at the moment but I have asked to be notified when it is available. This truly does look special.
Scrap Vamp said…
This made me hungry, too! I love the recipes you post and that you share all them with us! I hope I get the chance to try this one!
Mmmmmm this looks and sounds so good. Diane
Jennifer said…
The weather has been cold and snowy here, perfect soup weather! I have been eating a lot of soup the last couple weeks and this looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Joyce, this sounds wonderful. My children own a restaurant..and I am going to suggest the recipe to them. I hope they try it. They love this kind of thing..and serve dinner on Friday evenings...always something special..and I think they are going to love this.
Thanks SO very much!
This one looks excellent. We might have to give it a try in the near future.
Mudpatty said…
I will do this asap - thank you for the tip on the German sausage! They are out of stock at the moment, but I am happy to see a replacement for andouille, or chorizo, neither of which we like! I usually take the easy way and substitute Kielbasa for them! The layering of meats in this recipie gaurantee a tremendous flavor !!!!